Normally when one hosts a tournament, for instance the IUPUI Hampton Inn Invitational, you're expected to do well. Win it, even. At least have a good showing. Unfortunately the IUPUI Volleyball team forgot to check their mailbox before competing in this Labor Day Weekend's tournament.
After starting off their 2010 season 0-4, with a 1-12 set record, they lost their first contest at their own tournament 0-3 to eventual champion Western Michigan. In that match they couldn't even break into the 20s (18, 14, 19), while managing only 26 kills to WMU's 45.
Next they took on DePaul who are in the midsts of a self proclaimed rebuilding year. The young Jaguars managed to record their first win of the year, but it wasn't pretty. They dropped the first set 27-29 before coming back 25-22, 25-19, 25-20. They had 59 kills, but only edged their opponents by four.
Tennessee-Austin Peay (TENNESSEE'S FASTEST GROWING UNIVERSITY!!!) was next on the docket for IUPUI, but the Jaguars were downed by a much harder hitting Lady Governor's team. The home side could only muster a meager .057 hit per cent; AP had a .270 per cent for comparison. Not good. Not okay. Just bad.
In their final game, IUPUI faced off against Wright State for the chance to steal third in the tournament. Coming into the contest, the Jaguars had a 3-7 set record while the Raiders (whose logo is a wolf........hm...) had a 5-6 set record. Possibly the most even match up of the tournament, IUPUI was able to keep it close after going down but, unsurprisingly, they were able to bury their opponents like Tenn-AP and Western Michigan were. They lost in the fifth set 15-13. A rough fourth place (out of five team) finish for the hosts.
They played tough. They played scrappy. They came back. They gave up a lead. They got fourth. But they didn't impress, by any reach of the imagination. They finished fourth in their own tournament, and they had to really battle tough against Wright State to even do that well. They were blown out by Western Michigan, and all but gave up against Austin Peay. DePaul's only set win came against the Jaguars. The Lady Jags had two sets (4th and 5th) to put away Wright State but just couldn't.
If you asses a number to each class, 1 being freshman and 4 being senior, IUPUI's only at a 1.9, basically just under a sophomore-average. Coach Steve Payne has some work to do, but his better players (see: Alexis Meeks,a freshman with about 90 per cent of the teams assists against Wright State) are young.
The biggest thing I see necessary for success is an overall winning attitude. The girls were excited when they won a point or did something else good, but the look in their collective eyes was not one of a champion.
There's much to be done. Now is the time to do it.